What is your names?
Stephen Emmer, composer, producer
What is your genre of music?
Electro noise vs neo classical with anything in between
Give us a little bio about you.
Learned the flute in India, voodoo percussion in Surinam, early atari programming and 12 bit sampling in Holland and then on in learning to create for orchestra and sounddesign for tv and film
Are you a signed?
I’ m totally DIY, indie and autonomous
You are set to release new album ‘Home Ground’, tell us more about it.
It’s to do with that I want to create more then a bit of fun today, so I started to think about the world and realised everybody is constant traveling; as a refugee, a tourist, a musician, emigrant, immigrant, so i wanted to create a sound fort hat and that was the beginning of the Home Ground album( hence the title: what IS your Home Ground?)
What was the recording process like?
We started with listening how sample based music became a bit to much copy and paste and came up with the idea to create my own samples by actually recording bits that we could loop afterwards. Then we collaborated with vocalists from all over the USA and so we did that almost completely virtually, from NYC, LA, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Amsterdam and London….
Then this huge box full of files had to be organized and we starting mixing in New York with a ‘real mixer’, Bob Power (The Roots, a.o.) and then we took the stems from that session and made magic from that by adding and stripping stuff that you normally wouldn’t do in a traditional production process, but I think that is the future of production: to remix a mix before the original is released even!
What was the writing process like?
I’m a bad demo guy myself, usually when I write I already have the whole thing ready, even on a micro level in terms of what sounds to use or what structure to make, so the demo is already full fledged most of the time.
You worked with Chaka Khan,Patti Austin and more, what was it like to get others in out on the album?
It is really organic I’d say, its in a flow, you go from one place, read artist, to another and in that process you don’t theorise to much about it, you just do it (sorry to use your phrase, Nike)
Who was the first person you showed and how did they react?
That was the singer called Mary Griffin from Houston USA, she and I already worked together on another project and I never forgot how good she was, so I was keen on doing this with her again.
What else can we expect from you this year?
Well, this year a few remixes of the Chaka Khan track at least mid summer. And in the winter a new EP with piano and electronics I’m hoping to release, next year two surprise projects, more later…..
Do you have any gigs or a tour of your own coming up?
No tours, but yes a few gigs here and there in the UK and USA are now on the cards.
If so where will you be heading?
Probably New York, Los Angeles, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo.
What made you go in to music?
Music is by now my oldest friend, I started when I was 12 tickling on a piano, my mother came in (she s a ballet teacher and it was in her rehearsal room, and she said: what ARE you doing? I said: I don’t know and she said: but you’re playing Bach on the piano, I hadn’t a clue but I thought: more of this please 😉
Do you play any instruments?
Yes guitar, flute, percussion, keys, piano, sampled instruments, beat programming and sound design. Plus I can arrange for orchestras.
Who are your influences?
Very very diverse: Stockhausen, Exuma, Santana, Hendrix, Sakamoto, Cornelius, Federico Mompou, Ennio Morricone, Cabaret Voltaire, Aphex Twins, Flying Lotus, Milton Nascimento, Trentemoller, Kamasi Washington, Scott walker also
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
Usually I really need a kind of master plan to start, otherwise there is simply to much choices to make. I like to restrict myself in order to get going, a classical principle.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Hopefully I have released as much works as years go by from now on, at least one new work a year!!
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I only did music for the most time, monomaniac as I am. But recently I really get some pleasure out of photography and in a way it springs from the same fantasy source to create.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
Are you experienced? by Jimi Hendrix
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Make your passion your work
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Inspiration, curiosity and talent make a great package already, but the secret weapon really is… PERSEVERANCE
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
What TV show would you love to hear your music on?
Jools Holland Later
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Chargers for the laptop, backup on sticks, check double-check triple-check of what we all use nowadays!
You come off tour;
1 / Where do you go?
To a massage centre for a 2 hour treatment
2 / Who do you see?
I really usually need some serious me-time first for a day or so
3 / What do you eat?
Home cooking to escape all those on the road meals we all know and..love;)
Your work with HushPR, how did that come about?
We work with Hush again as we really enjoyed working with them on a previous project, in fact it was more than doing a job together, its gotta click as much with them as with a keyboard player inside the line up. Team effort is the only way!